After consulting the wonderful folks at the Vintage Shasta Trailer Forum (http://vintageshasta.proboards.com/), we've decided to attempt a skin-on restoration of the Forester rather than taking the skin off as we initially thought we'd have to. I'm happy because I honestly didn't want to try taking the skin off this thing if we didn't have to and to find out it's doable is fantastic. We worked all day yesterday trying to get the camper into the garage and there's no way it's gonna fit so a skin-off restoration would be a disaster here in Nebraska with the crazy wind and weather fluctuations.
Today hubby found a multi-tool thing at Menard's (miniature electric saw with other accessories) and went to work cutting the paneling so it can be removed. He took off part of the ceiling in the vent area and the curbside wall and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the wood supports/studs weren't rotted. Also the fiberglass insulation, while the backing had stains, was intact and dry. I was afraid we'd find wet, blackened, moldy insulation so finding nice clean yellow insulation behind the paper backing was a plus. We're going to remove that and replace it with the rigid insulation anyway but in my opinion, any sign that points to NO water rotting is a good sign. I'm most worried about the porta-potty closet wall (street side) and I'm sure in there we're going to find all kinds of disgusting things but if 90% of this thing is intact, I'll be a happy camper.
Also, we pulled up the disgusting carpet and found tile! This was kind of exciting to me because I remember my parents house having that same basic tile (not sure what it's called) and my sister and I spraying it with silicon spray and "ice skating" in our socks all around the house. Yes, I know that's crazy and we're lucky to not have broken bones but it was kind of a fun find for me. The stuff toward the back of the camper is slippery and looks to be in excellent condition. The stuff toward the front near the door and in front of the kitchenette has some crazing/surface cracks but I won't be able to tell how bad it is until I remove all the disintegrated carpet backing that has left a nice yellow dust all over the floor. Ideally, if it's in decent enough shape, I plan to leave the floor tile but if not, I guess I'll stick some kind of laminate flooring over it. We'll see.
It's supposed to snow (AGAIN) tomorrow and the temperature dropped drastically while we were out there this evening so that kind of stinks. Now that we've made some progress, I'm anxious for warm weather and a less hectic schedule so we can get this thing in motion!
Oh, one of the things we found yesterday was a gray water tank mounted under the camper. I didn't know it even had that. My Shasta just has an opening where you hook up a hose and drain it into a plastic tub so this was another one of those "cool finds" in my camper world anyway.
Now if only I could find a US equivalent of a baby Belling cooker http://www.belling.co.uk/baby-belling I'd be even happier!